No Update On Food Festivals

03 Feb

Short of something to do – I think not – I asked the Press Office once on 13th January when CLES/Wavehill festival evaluation will be available to me and then when I can expect an official statement as to when the Minister will announce about food festival funding for 2014? I didn’t get a reply, so asked AGAIN on 28th January and today got the following official response:

A Welsh Government spokesperson said:

“There is no consultation on food festivals planned. Our consultation on the draft Action Plan for Food and Drink is ongoing and an independent evaluation of the support we give to food festivals is also underway. We will make an announcement on funding for food festivals once we have considered both these pieces of work.”

Well, as always, this response is pointless and unhelpful. I’m not given a clue as to ‘when’ they will have considered both these pieces of work, and made any decisions. Welsh food and drink are supposed to be important to Wales but that is not the impression this statement gives me. But it was ever thus with our food department.  In theory they know what they are doing, though many of you, like me, will dispute that, so our only option is for us to just wait and wait and wait………………….

The only positive food news so far today is that I’ve been told by a helpful festival organiser that applications for food festivals have now been sent out by wag. Well I guess that’s something, and it’s certainly better late than never, even though these hard-working organisers still haven’t a clue as to whether they’ll get funding or not this year. But that’s not a worry for wag food.


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  1. Jay

    February 3, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    If we had an official voice through to wag food surely we could make some progress. It’s unfair that Kath is battling and questioning and still getting the brush-off. It’s not right and it’s not fair of wag
    I don’t know who they think they are because going over the same ground is pointless and frustrating.
    We need our own union to get our messages and complaints dealt with without repercussions or black balling.

  2. cheeseman

    February 4, 2014 at 10:13 am

    I am with Jay. It’s good by and large we are in agreement on this site, with so many comments saying the same thing. But the stumbling block is wag food doesn’t listen to anyone, apart from the favoured brown-nose few. A union seems an option that might work and sure can’t harm our cause. We cannot be in any worse position than we are in now.
    The benefit of this site is no-one knows who you are and wag can’t blackball anyone because they can’t track us. This is a brill idea, thanks Kath.
    It’s time for change and time for us to stand up and be counted. So far we have a food department that we deserve because we let them treat us like rubbish because they have always ruled us by fear.
    Now we’re told it’s a new regime, things are changing, that’s wag’s latest speak. Well come outside and take a reality check – NOTHING has changed for the better and now we await another food policy and until that happens, no decisions can be made. Ignore organisers, farmers and food producers, just keep feeding us more of your same old spin.

  3. Big cheese

    February 4, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Give up the fight Kath, before they drive you mad.
    Admit defeat and put it down to wag food’s arrogance and their civil service lack of understanding and their ability to talk to us, never mind listen.

  4. T

    February 5, 2014 at 10:00 am

    Being selfish, I’m not sure I agree with comment telling Kath to give up with wag.
    If she did that we’d find out nothing, nothing at all from them. And that’s just what wag wants, producers to be kept in the dark as they treat us like mushrooms!
    Kath isn’t paid for running this site and for the work she does trying to get any sense out of wag, which is why I’m being utterly selfish
    Comments on this site are in the main, supportive of Kath’s views. And because her team talk to food producers daily, they are up-to-date with what’s going on, they have their fingers on the food pulse.
    Why wag cannot listen to us and this has to be the civil service attitude and yes they are arrogant to carry on ignoring our needs. But they’ll continue to do that which is why I’d back a union.

  5. trader

    February 6, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Massive annoyance that despite a journalist and one with a huge passion for Welsh food that wag food ignore the problems that continue to face our industry. Festival funding is an on going issue but wag food do nothing at all to help this problem. Festival organisers are totally taken for granted by a department that shows little concern for the people they should be working for.

  6. Producer

    February 7, 2014 at 11:42 am

    My admiration is for festival organisers that are not paid by councils, but are volunteers. Their commitment to their communities is amazing. I still though cannot imagine why they would put themselves through this stress not knowing what funding, if any, they’re likely to get paid and when. And how many wag food hoops they’ll have to jump through whilst wag tick their boxes.
    I didn’t realise although I attend endless festivals each year what a headache these volunteers face and this is every year. We’d be lost without festivals but I’d never ever put myself through this is run one.
    A few have said on here that wag don’t deserve these hard working volunteers and I agree they are just continue taking advantage of them, year after year.
    Oh for a wind of change in that department and that they could wake-up to the reality of life in our world. .

  7. Pointless

    February 7, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Pointless which is just how I’m feeling, now that our industry has no focus because of this government and the civil servants in the food department, the people supposedly looking after us. It’s rather like a fox in the hen-house.
    Kath’s been on the case of food festivals, lateness of funding, funding budget reductions but nothing has changed and she has wasted so much time talking to people that are incapable of listening or understanding.
    I’d never organise anything for this government and am surprised that so many organisers continue to do a job that is by and large so thankless.

  8. day glo

    February 12, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Your team and this site keep me up to speed with what’s happening in food my only other way is talking to other producers at markets.
    I know us producers are selfish in relying on you to keep us in the loop and that’s made worse when we don’t way you for this site although the Gov. are still paying for fork2fork and I’ve read on here that they’ve been paid another £43k for their rubbish site. Wales is nowhere near a level playing field for you or us.
    On this site some say give up and I could understand if you closed this site but if possible please keep it going I think it’s my lifeline and know it shouldn’t be but you are doing part of wag’s job for them like their volunteer which is disgusting.

  9. Frustrated coordinator

    February 13, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Frankly, I’ve almost given up trying to find funding. We are in the midst of organising a food fair for the 3rd year to be held at Easter (20th April). Frustrated as I know with a bit of back up we could make the event so much better and publicise it more. We have some fantastic producers who deserve to be very much in the forefront of promotion for Welsh industry, tourism and job creation. Going round in circles and spending precious time trying to find any news or help from wag.

  10. Benji7???

    February 13, 2014 at 11:05 am

    I can understand just what you are going through – if only you were the first to talk to me about this!!!
    I’m totally fed-up of going over the same ground with wag food and their festival funding.
    Let me suggest that you talk to your AM’s. You’ll have 3-5 that represent your area and I would suggest talk to all of them, even the Labour ones who need attacking for allowing this situation to go on and on. Maybe all your committee can do that to ram your message home.
    You don’t have to visit them, you can do all this by email and paste and copy to each one. Feel free to say you have also raised the matter with Welsh Country magazine too!
    If you haven’t got emails for your AM’s then try the welsh government website, you’ll find them there. But if you have any trouble finding them, email me
    I’ve give up on wag food department, the new regime hasn’t yet changed anything that I can see. It’s so far, more of the same, it’s ineffective, not helping food producers and certainly not organisers!!!
    I can’t see any other option but AM’s, and I’d also email Minister Alun Davies too, though hardly hopeful of that one!!!!
    Shout, or rather email if I can help further. I’m so sorry you and other festivals running early are left in limbo, and are still having this festival funding farce to cope with once again.
    Nothing changes with wag food – nothing improves and I guess you, like me, feel you’re wasting your time.
    But PLEASE email your AM’s – that’s what we pay them rather well for, to fight our corner. Now let them earn their money for your festival.

  11. M.

    February 13, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    My heart breaks for festival organisers running early this year. How do they know what to do? Go on with it in the hope they get funding? How can they make plans when they don’t know if wag funding is coming or not?
    Then how do producers plan their year? When will they know which festivals are running? Mind you as many have got stock they are rearing now it is not a help knowing from maybe May which are goers or not. Those producers need to plan their stock and which festivals to do, but wag can’t work that out, or if they can, they’re obviously not bothered.
    It’s not fair on any of us, on either side.
    The basic is wag food are not supporting organisers or producers. From reading this site, they’re not supporting Kath and her team either. Wag food are a joke in poor taste.
    What sort of a department is this if they are not there for people who they are paid to work for?

  12. producer

    February 14, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    I sympathise with all organisers and Kath’s lot too but would agree with her that organisers should push their AMs and get them on this case
    AM’s are aid well to look out for us but if they don’t know this shambles is going on year after year then it’s down to those involved to make a fuss and not be put off.
    I’m pulling my hair out wondering what will take place this year so goodness knows how those organisers are coping not knowing.